The head beats like crazy, often only on one side. Light and noise are almost unbearable, this is often nausea to vomiting. A good ten percent of all Austrians, predominantly women, suffer from migraine attacks. Some sufferers have them several times a month, others only once or twice a year. Behind this is a neurobiological dysfunction, that much is certain. However, the exact causes and what happens in the brain are not fully understood by scientists. Hereditary factors play a role, but not all affected are family-biased. A relatively new field of research in this context is the intestine and its bacterial flora. The hormonal situation also has a great influence. The cause of the excruciating headache are stress and mental influences. We talked to three experts.
Too many messengers. What happens in a migraine attack, you know: The brain suddenly released more messengers, especially large amounts of serotonin, which is actually known as happiness hormone. Due to the excessive distribution, the blood circulation gets worse, which starts a chain reaction. Among other things, the pain receptors become more sensitive. Only when the system has calmed, the torments pass and the brain is fully capable again. If the causes of an attack are still not clear, the triggers, the triggers, are relatively well known. "A trigger is like the first stone in a long line of dominoes, so if it kills, it starts a process," explains the doctor, migraine specialist and author. Ulrich Selz. In the book "Migraine Ade!" (caralin Verlag, в‚Џ 30.80) describes new insights and perspectives as well as a whole avalanche of possible triggers such as: changes in the daily routine, too little sleep, alcohol, noise, professional or private stress and physical or mental exhaustion. Weather changes, medications and certain foods can also promote migraines. Frequently, hormonal fluctuations triggered by the thyroid gland or by the female sex hormone during the cycle are also the cause of a seizure. "The typical headache often occurs for the first time at puberty when the hormones change, and many women always have an attack at some point in their menstrual cycle, which does not necessarily coincide with the onset of the bleeding," says Dr , Selz and urges caution in hormonal contraception: "Some patients initially benefit from the pill, but experience shows that it has no long-term positive effect, rather the reverse." Therefore clarify your complete hormone status necessarily with a specialist. Relief in acute seizures promise two types of painkillers: those from the group of triptans and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Long-term treatment success, which can also reduce the seizure density, show acupuncture, thermal therapies, massages or osteopathy, as often synonymous tensions in the musculoskeletal system are triggers. The relationship between the intestine and migraine is currently being researched particularly intensively.
The intestinal brain axis
Transparent. Virtually all sufferers know that certain foods trigger migraine attacks. Selz mentions that there are often food intolerances such as lactose or histamine intolerance behind it. Therefore, let yourself be tested for any sensibilities. Avoiding the corresponding foods helps a lot. However, new findings indicate that this is just the tip of the iceberg. "You have to see the intestine and its functioning in a much larger context," emphasizes general practitioner Hilke MГџller, who deals in her daily practice intensively with the intestine and its impact on the entire body – including the brain -. Because certain bacterial strains of the microbiome in the abdomen are associated with the headache. How come? Hilke MГџller explains: "In itself, the intestine forms a barrier with the microbiome: nutrients and vitamins that are allowed into the bloodstream are separated from toxic substances that need to be excreted, but inflammation can make this barrier permeable, leading to toxic substances into the bloodstream. This is called the 'Leaky Gut' syndrome. " The toxins enter the liver via the blood, where they are actually filtered again. But if our biggest organ of detoxification is overloaded by an excess of toxins, they can even penetrate into the brain. There, they weaken certain immune cells of the brain, a migraine attack can develop. "And how does it come to such inflammation?" The intestine is the headquarters of our immune system. In healthy people, up to 500 different bacterial strains live there, each of which fulfills certain tasks. The more of them are dying from permanently bad diets, such as too much gluten from the wheat, excessive sugar consumption or processed fats in finished products, the weaker the immune system and trying to fight against these bad influences with inflammation. Constant stress, infectious diseases or frequent antibiotics also affect the intestinal flora. "Depending on which bacteria are missing in the microbiome, this can be the cause of one or the other disease." Especially those who produce butyric acid are missing meanwhile assumes that this deficiency problem even
Healing through colon cleansing
Regeneration. So what do you do if you suspect a "leaky gut" syndrome? A targeted investigation does not exist. The best help is a colon cleansing. These can be done with professional support, preferably in an FX Mayr Center (eg La Pura Women's Health Resort in Kamptal, Vivamayr in Altaussee, Park Hotel Igls near Innsbruck). If you want to do something for yourself at home, start with a three-week detoxification course with a basic diet. This means: complete renunciation of alcohol, sugar, meat, fish and dairy products. Instead, lots of (green) vegetables, potatoes, spicy and bitter plant compounds, whole grains, legumes, all cooked gently, and high-quality vegetable oils on the plate. This can not only improve migraines, the feel-good factor generally increases.
Stress as a trigger
Mental causes. But migraine does not just have to be triggered by physical factors. Mental stress can also be considered a trigger. "Anger that you eat into yourself can cause stressful situations that weaken the immune system," explains life and social counselor Maria Feytl. She works mainly with migraine sufferers and searches with them for unconscious stress patterns (migraene.coach). "Think about when the headache occurred for the first time, is there anything specific, can it happen in the run-up to a seizure, and then unconscious patterns can show." An important question is how to deal with yourself. Do you treat yourself with necessary breaks or do you constantly exploit your own strength? "The migraine can also be a kind of handbrake against excessive demands," Feytl points out. It is worth pursuing this approach as well.